Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Mexico will discuss migrant situation with US in wake of ‘remain in Mexico’ ruling

Mexico will initiate talks with the United States on migration issues in light of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that obliges the Biden administration to reinstate the Donald Trump-era “remain in Mexico” policy.

The court refused on Tuesday to overturn a lower court ruling that ordered the U.S. government to restore the controversial Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which forced migrants to remain here while they await the outcome of their asylum claims.

Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry (SRE) said Wednesday that the U.S. Department of State had formally presented the Supreme Court resolution to it but noted that it is not obliged to cooperate with it.

“In adherence with the constitutional principles of our foreign policy, the Mexican government does not take a position with respect to the ruling. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasizes that a judicial decision of this type is not binding on Mexico and its immigration policy is designed and executed in a sovereign way,” the SRE said in a statement.

“Consequently, the United States Supreme Court ruling doesn’t have a direct implication on the Mexican government’s immigration management.”

The SRE said the government will initiate technical discussions with the United States “with the objective of evaluating the scenarios in the management of orderly, safe and regular migration flows on the common border.”

Many of the migrants returned to Mexico under the “remain in Mexico” policy were Central Americans. Mexico has no legal obligation to accept non-Mexican citizens but cooperated with the policy, ostensibly for humanitarian reasons, even as shelters and other migrant services on the northern border were overwhelmed.

After former U.S. president Donald Trump threatened to impose blanket tariffs on Mexican exports if Mexico didn’t do more to stop migration flows to the northern border, the federal government also ramped up enforcement against migrants, deploying troops to both borders in mid-2019.

Trump subsequently trumpeted the “outstanding” relationship he enjoyed with President López Obrador.

The Associated Press reported that it’s unclear how many people will be affected by the Supreme Court ruling and how quickly.

The Biden administration could try again to terminate the MPP but under the lower court ruling upheld by the Supreme Court it must make a “good faith effort” to restart the policy, which faced criticism because it forced migrants to wait in crime-ridden Mexican border cities as they waited for U.S. courts to rule on their claims.

That left migrants vulnerable to kidnapping, assault, rape and even murder. Some migrants were transported by bus to southern Mexico or “invited” to return to the countries from which they fled.

Although the SRE was at pains to emphasize that the federal government has no obligation to comply with the Supreme Court ruling, a former chief of the National Immigration Institute believes it is unlikely it won’t given Mexico’s history of cooperation with the United States.

Tonatiuh Guillén, who resigned in 2019 a week after the government reached an agreement with the United States to increase enforcement against undocumented migrants, said Mexican authorities will probably agree to the renewal of the MPP even though they, and non-profit organizations, don’t have sufficient resources to manage a large arrival of asylum seekers to the northern border.

With reports from AP

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